CADET CHRISTOPHER MITCHELL interacts with neighborhood children at the recent Fun Fair held at Torrance Corps. Christopher and wife Christa are part of the flex training program at Crestmont College.
Individualized learning plans are an educational model for the 21st century, and Crestmont College’s School for Officer Training is no exception. Cadets Christa and Christopher Mitchell of Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland, part of the entering Bridgebuilders Session, are beginning their officer training outside the mold, through an expedited program which also allows them to work full-time at the local Torrance, California Corps.
The Mitchells, who both hold Bachelor Degrees from William and Catherine Booth College in Winnipeg, Canada, recently came to the United States to fill youth ministry positions in the Oceanside Corps in the Sierra del Mar Division. Encouraged by divisional and territorial mentors, they decided to enter officer training at Crestmont College, and feel positive about their customized program.
“We weren’t sure what to expect, but there’s so much support from faculty and staff at Crestmont that it’s been pretty easy to fall into,” the Mitchells said of their full schedules. “It’s good to pick up studies again and also to serve through our corps work.”
An expedited educational plan works for the Mitchells because of their significant number of transferable required units from prior BA degree work, according to Capt. Steve Smith, dean of the School for Officer Training.
“Christa has a degree in Christian Education and Christopher has a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies, so we’ve designed a training program which fills in the academic gaps and also provides the other essential ingredients of officer training,” Smith said. “They participated fully in the two-week cadet orientation, and they’re in class on campus three days a week. They’ll be on schedule to be commissioned with their session in June 2004.”
Cadets enter officer training with a variety of educational backgrounds, Smith said, and the college’s goal is to provide a maximum learning experience for each student. “We’re also working to be able to offer a flexible, primarily online, officer training program to be used in exceptional circumstances. The goal is to open doors to officership for those who might not otherwise have the opportunity. In the Mitchell’s case, we are pleased that they’re enjoying the challenge of being students and full-time workers at the corps. So far, it’s been a good experience for them.”
Cadets Christa and Christopher agree. “Our session mates have really been supportive and have helped us create a bond. We feel grateful to be here.